Durable Medical Equipment has become a lightning rod issue for the Blunt adminstration. Critics have spent the last two years blasting the cuts. A federal judge has ordered the state to restore funding for that equipment and come up with a new system to handle equipment requests fairly.
Senator Wes Shoemeyer of Clarence says the state can stretch its durable medical equipment dollars by refurbishing worn-out equipment instead of replacing it. He points to the work of the Rural Advocates for Independent Living, in Kirksville, which refurbished a six-year old wheelchair so a woman would not have to get a new one. .
The sponsor of the bill creating a new Medicaid program known as MOHealthnet, Charlie Shields of St. Joseph, says the present Medicaid system does not provide funding for using refurbished equipment. Shields refers to the situation as "the death of common sense," borrowing a phrase from one of his favorite books. Shoemeyer has put an amendment on Shields’ bill letting Independent Living Centers, such as RAIL, rehab durable equipment and get 20 percent of the savings. He says the state benefits, the users of the equipment benefit, and the Independent Living Centers benefit too. And he says it’s the kind of common-sense legislation that lawmakers can brag about when they go home.
The senate is expected to send the MOHealthNet bill to the House this week.